Monday, 28 April 2008

That Was The Weekend

Birmingham 2-2 Liverpool

Birmingham also made a great stride towards safety when they leading 2-0 but then showed they are actually a crap team - when Benayoun scores, things are very bad....

Chelsea 2-1 Man Utd

Much has been made of United's bottle recently with Fergie showing a strange gutless streak. Perhaps it is the dark lord Queiroz exerting undue influence? Either way, United are crumbling in same way as the end of last season. The difference is, Chelsea drew 3 in a row last year, now they are winning.

And by the way, I love after match shenanigans. More please!

Man City 2-3 Fulham
A great contrast with the Birmingham game - Fulham, dead and buried at 2-0 down with 20 mins to go, come back to win with Kamara, of all people, getting 2. Logic says they are probably doomed, but I'm cheering them on now - in the hope they relegate Bolton

Sunderland 3-2 Middlesbrough
Clichè, Clichè, Clichè, blah blah, winner in stoppage time. Keane's team make it harder for Match Reporters who need to file copy, but at least they don't have to change the script. Sunderland survive the first season back, congrats are due because their squad is poor...

Tottenham 1-1 Bolton
Spurs should be ashamed. Bolton deserve to be beaten and to be relegated, lets hope if turns out that way. Benitez gets stick for fielding weakened teams - Ramos should get twice as much for Spurs' dismal form, which is a great reminder of Chartlon under Curbs. Shudder.

West Ham 2-2 Newcastle
When does the Keegan bandwagon start again? Can I jump on? At the least, next season will be highly entertaining after a summer of Keegan purchases. Big Sam was not given enough time, but I'd take Keggan any day

Wigan 0-0 Reading
Eh......... zzzzzzz. Reading are in big trouble

Everton 2-2 Aston Villa
What a humdinger. I have a soft spot for Everton (they're not LFC, for example) and I'm glad they didn't lose this match - the league won't lie at the end of the season, but I think Everton have shown greater consistency than Villa, who seem to do all their good work in bursts

Portsmouth 0-1 Blackburn
Hands up who thought Santa Cruz was shite when he arrived last summer.



Mal said...

Do you believe the Queiroz theory or are you taking the piss? I think many utd fans blame Queiroz when results get poor as a way of absolving Fergie of blame.

ODF said...

well Mal, it's a toughie. I believe it's a joint manager arrangement but Fergie makes the major decisions. hard to know really.

Buckley said...

Benayoun, scorer of two hatricks this season. That Benayoun?

JJ said...

Much as it pains me to defend a man u fan, in fairness to mark, those two hat tricks were against a horrendous besiktas side and havant total nework solutions or something.

Still a decent player though, and earlier in the season scored a winner against wigan when another draw may have seen benitez heading for the door (think it may have been around the time of the klinsmann meeting actually). Essentially, a decent buy and very decent replacement for the greying garcia.

String said...

5 days on, I still stand over my initial rant about United's craven display at Camp Nou. If anything, that similarly craven first half display at the bridge has reinforced it.


Awful, awful, awful game.

Unfortunately, Ferguson did exactly what I suspected he might which was to play it cagey and see how things went. Even allowing for that, it was absolutely shocking to see how deep the defence were at times. The selection was wrong. Fair enough about Vidic, but Ronaldo up top was a big mistake. He was isolated for the entire game, had no support, and no decoy runners to create space to move into. I can see the logic of playing Park in a tie like this, but it didn't work and he should have been taken off at half-time for Nani. The RTE panel raved about Scholes, but I think he just did what you would expect from someone in that role- maybe it's because it's the wrong role for him and he still did well, but when it came to the things you usually expect of him, he didn't do it. His passing wasn't up to scratch, although the team was so poorly set-up it made little difference.

United should have approached this game on the front foot- with their record in home second legs, 0-0 is not a good result. Barca have been awful of late, and a score draw (at the minimum) should have been the aim. a 2-1 or 3-2 loss would have been fine also. Instead, they made a shambolic Barcelona look decent. As it happened, they just didn't have the ability or the confidence to do to United what they deserved. One thing you can say is the defence performed brilliantly, maintaining their concentration throughout, and restricted the opposition to a handful of half-chances. Scholes and Carrick should been pressing much higher up the field though, in the end they just ended up inviting too much pressure on the defence and were too far away from the frontmen when they did get posession to create anything. They relied upon, and might have profited better from, lapses in concentration from the opposition- but the problem with that is that when the other side in controlling the game, there is a far greater likelihood that you'll be the team to make the mistake. Risky stuff. Even the Italians don't play like that anymore. Catenaccio this ain't- for that would at least require retention of the football.

As for Barca, I thought they were pretty poor as well. For a team that had 62% of the ball, they did nothing. Messi did alright; Xavi played well; Deco, for me, was fantastic- anyone (and there are many, it would seem) who doesn't recognise what he brings to the table knows nothing about the game. As for the others? Eto'o- poor; Iniesta- looked out of place so far up the pitch. Abidal was poor also, Zambrotta put in a good shift though. Henry, I think, should have come on earlier, and in place of Eto'o. As it was, I thought he did reasonably well, in that position which he doesn't enjoy much.

As for next week, it's a tough call. If United play anything like they did last night, they'll be poxed if they get through; if they play it as if it's a premiership game, and get the selection right, they'll cream them. Anderson and Nani have to start. Ronaldo must be allowed to run from deep. I think the whole Rooney thing is a red herring. He can start up front, play off Tevez, or come in from the left. What matters is that the deeper lying midfielders can link up with the attack, and that Evra can overlap. It's all about the attitude- fuck playing chess. Play football.

Mark said...

string - you're right, Unite dshould attack. Sure they might lose but at they would have given it a go. barca are not that good but any team with messi in it is a big threat